26 September 2014
The ANZAC spirit is alive and well for two Australian soldiers on exchange with Queen Alexandra Mounted Rifles (QAMR) in New Zealand.
Cpls Marcelo Pullen and Edward Stollery are participating in ANZAC exchange which will see them spend three months with the New Zealand cavalry unit based at Linton Military Camp, two hours north of the capital city, Wellington.
Having both just completed the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) conversion course Cpl Pullen, from 2/14LHR, said he can now be employed inside the NZ troop environment.
"This is our last day of training, so I am now qualified to be a driver, gunner or commander in their Type 3 'Striker' variant," he said.
"Their LAV is very much the same as ours, the turret is the same, the hull is just bigger with a few minor differences - that has made, for us, doing the conversion course quite simple.
"2/14LHR and QAMR are actually brother and sister units and we carry many similar battle honours on our standard."
CPL Stollery said now he had finished the full conversion course he was happy to soon be used as a vehicle commander.
"I am especially looking forward to conducting the live fire exercise with these guys next month," he said.
"It is great to have an idea of what a next generation LAV is capable of.
"While it highlights the improvements to our own platform, it's exciting to see the direction we will be heading in in the future."
In the short time they both have been seconded to the QAMR they both unanimously agree the highlight of their time was talking part in the 150th birthday celebrations of the Kiwi unit.
"It was amazing to be part of the celebrations, and the parade through Palmerston North - It's not every day you get to share such a significant milestone with a unit, especially one that so much history and has such close ties with my unit back home," Cpl Pullen said.
"Working with the Kiwis has been awesome; they have taken us in, and made us one of their own."
"Playing for the unit in rugby was a great honour as was meeting with the NZ Governor General and Chief of Army.
Cpl Stollery said the ANZAC esprit de corps was still present.
"The mateship here has been great, they are very welcoming," he said.
"They have given us the opportunity to see a bit of the country while we're here, and the fact that they trust us with million dollar vehicles is pretty awesome too."
Both Aussie soldiers are eagerly anticipating the brigade level, live fire, exercise, Kiwi Koru, that is being held in November in which they will get to play an active part in their new found roles as LAV commanders.